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Annually, Rovistella travels overseas to discover new environments and cultures. She has been recently in Africa: an experience that has changed Rovistella forever and has enriched her soul.
I stayed in Nigeria, on the West coast of Africa. Considering the change of temperature, food ingredients, the customs and daily habits, some of my African colleagues had warned me that I may experience culture shock encountering a culture so different from the European one I was brought up with.
But my curiosity and desire to visit Africa was so strong that as soon as received all the required vaccinations (Yellow fever, Malaria, Typhus, Hepatitis, Tetanus - including the Covid19 doses), I went on an adventure. I am glad I did!
To tell everything I have seen and felt is almost impossible as it has been an immensity of emotions for me. However, I will write about my trip listing the things I have done and what I recommend to do to any person who travels to Nigeria.
I was lucky enough to travel with native Nigerians who knew Nigeria well: we visited the places where it is possible to enjoy the city life safely.
I had the opportunity to admire the colours of nature, to smell strong and typical scents, to try new tastes, to touch African fabrics. Everything was so new and unique to me.
I stayed in Lagos State and there I enjoyed the Nigerian life style. I bought African products using the local money called NAIRA. According to the black market, 1 pound is about 700 Naira (the cost of living is really low for tourists).
In company of Nigerian people, I visited the downtown market streets in the suburbs of Lagos (it is the biggest city in Nigeria and the second largest city in Sub Saharan Africa) which is very crowded.
Many streets have their own market where you can buy cheap and authentic Nigerian food and goods (accessories, natural products, home supplies and more).
I made friendships with local people and enjoyed scenes of daily routine: families in Africa are often very big (usually minimum 4 or 5 children per family), they are very welcoming and enjoy both the city and home life.
Most of the time I was in Lekki peninsula (city of Lagos State) where the streets are full of sellers and local shops, the majority of which are small and made by bamboo or light metals.
If you go to Nigeria, for sure you will see many noisy yellow tricycles running through the crowd on the roads: take a ride on a Keke! These are private transport used by the local people to move quickly in the city traffic jam.
One of the most beautiful things I saw is the African sky, it is a beautiful sensation to look and feel awed by the sunset on the Lagos Lagoon where fishermen catch fresh fish ready to sell or to cook.
African food is usually very tasty and hot! Eating the typical Nigerian food is an experience: famous dishes are the Jollof rice, the Nigerian pounded yam and soups, plantain, sugar cane, Egusi stew and other Nigerian 'swallow' food (Eba, Semo, Cocoayam, for example). Be careful not to eat to much pepper or your tummy might not thank you!
I knew Nigerians are great tailors so I commissioned some clothes from a Nigerian seamstress who, with colorful African fabrics, has created beautiful outfits in bright tribal colours. African tailoring is famous worldwide.
I had the opportunity to also visit small villages in the countryside where I saw some stunning landscape.
Getting on with local people is vital in this country as, if you do, they will be kind enough to teach you some of their habits and customs. In Nigeria there are many Tribes, the biggest are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo and they have their own story and language.
Nigerian people are very religious: people have a variety of beliefs but they are mostly Muslims and Christians. I was fortunate enough to participate in the Sunday Services and I was very impressed by the passion used in prayer.
When I close my eyes, I often think about miles and miles of huts on the outskirts of the Lagosians' city. The floating villages of Nigeria are huge and often covered by a an unusual haze. Nigeria and Africa in general has landscapes that everyone should see at least once in their life.
In Nigeria everything it is so alive and different. The streets of Lagos are very busy and chaotic. The noises of the car horns are superimposed over the voices of the people and the colours of nature mix with the hues of the goods sold on the street by the vendors who approach the passing cars.
To buy an African work of art, I visited an African Art gallery and masks, sculptures, objects that recall nature, paintings and figurines of African life are a common and well appreciated sight by visitors.
As a visitor, I relished buying from local business and seeing town celebrations organised by the local tribes who dressed up with colorful and typical Nigerian clothes.
At the end of my journey, I visited Victoria Island which is the business center of the city and has a very international character and where you can find many night clubs and restaurants.
Nigeria is a Country rich in resources and constantly developing its own potential. I had a chance to visit some orphanages while there and I would like to invite readers to make a donation to the Olive Blooms orphanage and / or the Arrows of god orphanage who help local family and kids (Dollars, Pounds and Euros are very welcome).
After this trip, I cannot stop thinking about the people and the nature I have seen in Lagos which is famous also for long beaches like Tarkwa Bay.
It is constantly in my mind - the noise of the raindrops in the rainy season, the smells of spices and hot pepper, the green of the palm trees, the smile of the local people - and I still feel the heat on my skin.
I did not say 'Goodbye Nigeria' as one day I would like to be back there to discover more and I invite you to do so too. Choose Africa for your next trip, enjoy Nigeria!
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